Ron Parraguirre (R)

James Hardesty (D)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (Legal Newsline)- Nevada Supreme Court Justice Ron Parraguirre will serve as the high court's chief justice next year.

Parraguirre will succeed Chief Justice James Hardesty, whose one-year term as chief justice ends this week. A former Clark County District Court judge, Parraguirre won his seat on the Supreme Court in 2004. His term will end in 2011.

Parraguirre is a Republican; Hardesty is a Democrat.

The seven-member court has a new chief justice every year. The Nevada chief justice serves as the administrative head of the state's Judicial Branch and the public voice of the Supreme Court.

Hardesty's term was marked by budget difficulties. Still, he managed to win legislative approval for nine new district court judges in Clark County and one in Washoe County.

"In today's hard economic times, the court has managed to keep the wheels of justice turning and the doors open for business," Hardesty said. "In addition to cutting the court's budget, we reverted more than $2 million for fiscal year 2009 to the State General Fund."

He was instrumental in establishing the state's model Foreclosure Mediation Program. The aim is to help Nevadans avoid losing their homes. The Silver State has the nation's highest foreclosure rate. He also initiated a Family Court settlement program.

"Despite adversities, the judiciary had a number of successes during 2009," Hardesty said. "Many achievements, such as the implementation of the Foreclosure Mediation Program and the addition of new judges in Clark and Washoe Counties, were accomplished without increasing the burden on taxpayers."

He added: "I have no doubt that Chief Justice Parraguirre will continue our path of progress toward making the Nevada Judiciary one of the best in the country."

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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